Maternity and paternity leave enhanced

The Adjustments of Work and Care and Working Hours Act (“Act”) (in Dutch: ”Wet van 17 december 2014, houdende modernisering regelingen voor verlof en arbeidstijden”) enhances existing family rights, including maternity and paternity leave. Some provisions of the Act came into force on 1 January 2015, and some will come into force on 1 July 2015.

Maternity leave

According to Dutch law, an employee is entitled to 16 weeks’ maternity leave on full pay (up to a maximum of €199,15 per day). This is a statutory payment in respect of which the employer is reimbursed by the Governmental body “UWV”. It is common for employers to pay full pay during maternity leave.

The Act adds the following new rights to the current entitlement:

  1. Where a child (not the mother) is hospitalized for seven days or more, maternity leave will be extended by the number of days the child spends in hospital, starting with day eight. Leave cannot be extended by more than ten weeks;
  2. Any remaining entitlement to maternity leave will be transferred to the mother’s partner if the mother dies during childbirth or during her maternity leave period;
  3. Any entitlement to maternity leave which remains seven weeks after birth can be taken by the mother at any time within a 30 week period Such a request may only be denied by the employer if there is a substantiated and compelling reason;
  4. From 1 July 2015, a mother who gives birth to more than one child at the same time is entitled to an additional 4 weeks’ maternity leave.

Paternity Leave

The mother’s partner is entitled to paternity leave of two working days with full pay, to be taken within 4 weeks of the birth. From 1 January 2015 the mother’s partner is entitled to take 3 days of unpaid leave after the child is born in addition to paternity leave. An employee’s request to take additional unpaid paternity leave cannot be refused in any circumstances, even if substantiated and compelling reasons exist.